I’m coming around on Concrete Revolutio, which in its baffling way is proving to be a very interesting series. It’s a mess, but I think intentionally so. Ghosts, youkai, aliens, mecha, cyborgs – you name it and it’s here. It reminds me of the above dish that’s tipico of the Pereira region in Colombia that I visited – it’s almost literally everything under the sun with a fried egg on top. If they grow it or kill it in Antiquioa, they fry it or grill it and put in on the plate.
That’s kind of what Concrete Revolutio is, I think – Mizushima and Aikawa giving us the ultimate sampler platter of sci-fi/fantasy tropes on one plate, and not bothering to make it look neat and organized. I’m still not sure what their point is, ultimately, but right now I’m kind of OK with that – it’s a strange show that’s hard to take your eyes off of. And there are growing signs that there might just be some very interesting ideas behind it. It’s another example of why I admire Bones so much – they’re just not afraid to try stuff, even if it’s strange and difficult.
It may be that for some, the time-skipping element is going to be the make or break element of the series. I think it’s needlessly confusing to the point of being a little pretentious, but it does add an interesting Rashomon effect to some of what we’re seeing. This episode, in fact, takes place entirely before any we’ve seen (I think), and starts out some years before the “first” main timeline – it joins Jirou’s father (foster father, as it turns out) on an Indiana Jones-like adventure where he meets up with a “Ga-Gon” – which it’s implied is some kind of ancestral human species that’s been subverted to create beasts in the modern era. But don’t hold me to that.
Just how did these beasts come about – are they natural disasters akin to earthquakes and typhoons, as Jirou suggests, or Godzilla-like byproduct on mankind’s crimes against the planet? That’s a very interesting perspective for Jirou to take, because Japan perhaps more than any industrial nation is one that lives with natural disasters intimately. When it’s suggested to him that mankind and beasts could coexist, Jirou derisively snorts “could we coexist with volcanoes or earthquakes?” But it’s immediately pointed out to him that yes, we already are – and no one more so than the Japanese.
I’m not crazy about the Funimation translation for this series (or anything else about their stream, as usual) because they’re using “beast” and “youkai” interchangeably and I don’t think that’s what’s intended in the script. Nevertheless, Concrete Revolutio is clearly all about the grey areas that exist between black and white spheres of moral certainty. No one wants to see absolutes more than Jirou, yet he’s constantly barraged with confusing scenarios – evil acts supposedly committed in the name of good, lies told for the sake of truth. He himself is apparently a kind of human weapon of mass destruction, a superhuman so powerful he denies his own powers until forced to use them to survive.
The other constant in this show is that almost no one is who they appear to be. And that certainly includes Daishi, whose real form is a ring of light and whose acts of manipulation don’t exclude those who work under him. There’s an awful lot happening here – a “kaijou boom” where beasts are becoming folk heroes. A supposed plot where beasts are being bred and used to promote superhero popularity. And that mysterious 5-year gap between the two main timelines, where so much changed. This show is confusing as hell, but it’s growing more interesting with each passing episode.